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Marilyn Hudson, Book Lover

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Marilyn Hudson, Book Lover

During one stage of her life, Marilyn Hudson read up to one book a day, and when she died an estimated 15,000 books lined her home. But this wasn’t what made her one of Southern California’s most important champions of literature.

She is best known as a founder of the Round Table West, cited by Publisher’s Weekly as the nation’s largest book-centered luncheon.

The Round Table West was inspired by the famous Algonquin Round Table group that met for lunch each day in New York during the 1920s, and featured the likes of writer Dorothy Parker, New Yorker editor Harold Ross, humorist Robert Benchley, playwright George S. Kaufman and occasionaly author Edna Ferber and actor Harpo Marx.

Its West Coast resurrection was launched in 1977 at the Ambassador Hotel (it later relocated to the Beverly Wilshire) and soon expanded to host events in Newport Beach and later Palm Desert. Between 200-600 people attended each of the the 2,000 Round Table events held during its 30-year run. Guests included those from the Hollywood entertainment world (Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gloria Swanson, Bob Hope) and luminaries of the literary world (Mary Higgins Clark, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Maya Angelou).

Hudson is remembered for beginning each meeting with a bitingly humorous astrology reading, which provided the basis for her 2003 book, You Were Born Under a Funny Sign.

Hudson died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. You can read more about her life at the Los Angeles Times.